Understanding the Six-Day War

To understand the last forty years in the Middle East, you need to understand the Six-Day War of 1967. That’s one of the messages of a fascinating, enlightening four-part BBC radio documentary about those formative days in June:

After the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, there was a sense of unfinished business in the region.

On the eve of war, Arab civilians believed propaganda broadcasts from Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s Egypt promising an easy victory over Israel; for Israeli citizens there was the feeling of anticipation of terrible defeat.

But the Israeli capability was underestimated – and Arab generals thought so too.

I’ve only listened to the first two parts, but it does a fantastic job of blending historical recordings with new interviews with those decision-makers and innocent bystanders who are still around. I’ve only ever had the vaguest grasp of Middle Eastern politics and history, and it’s a longterm project improve. This series has certainly helped in that regard.


  1. Yup, these BBC documentaries are key for filling in knowledge gaps allowing me to talk less out of my hind-end. Besides the killer documentary archive (Illegal Dumping in the Czech Republic or a series on Rice perhaps?) are Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time shows with a round table of expoerts breaking down minute details of moderately obscure intellectual concepts. Get smart and listen up on your commute sez i!

  2. I agree with DaveO that the “In Our Time” podcast is excellent, though I can’t listen to it at work as I can to other podcasts (too smart to have as background talk).

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